The reason I grouped these two movies together is because they were my post-breakup movies. When I had an affair of the heart that didn't particularly go well, I would whip out one of these movies and start the process. The always made me feel better. I originally had them both on VHS tape, and now have the DVDs.
Top - Gordon Warnecke and Daniel Day-Lewis from My Beautiful Laundrette
Bottom - Richard Ganoung, John Bolger, Steve Buscemi from Parting Glances
My Beautiful Laundrette was released in 1985, and starred a young Daniel Day-Lewis as Johnny, the punk boyfriend of Omar (Gordon Warnecke), a son of Pakistani immigrants. Together they must fight the prejudices of society to see their dream come true, that of self-reliance in London as they open a laundrette called Powders. They hide their love from friends and family to reach their goal, only to have the truth come out. Fighting and destruction of property ensue.
Parting Glances was released in 1986. It is a rather simple love story, confused by the times in which the characters lived. Michael (Ganoung) lives with Robert (Bolger) but is still in love with his ex, Nick (Buschemi). Nick, an up and coming rock star is having trouble dealing with HIV positive status. Robert is scheduled to leave town for work, hoping that while he is gone, Michael will be able to sort out his feelings for Nick. This was the first movie I had seen to deal with the AIDS crisis, but it is really about relationships, not the illness. Kathy Kinney, who later went on to play Mimi on the Drew Carey Show, played best friend to all, Joan.
Both movies spoke of love between men in a way I hadn't seen before, in different ways. Laundrette was about the struggle, the sociopolitical, financial, and familial issues the boys faced. But Parting Glances was about personal decisions, and living in NYC at the beginning of a health crisis. I had friends who were sick and who were dying. I was living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, not far from where it was filmed. I understood and related to these characters in ways I had never done before. I was in the process of breaking up with the man I was living with, and these movies became the go-to thing for me, reminding me that love was not only possible, but desirable.